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A Big Question Futurama Fans Have About Zoidberg And Marianne's Relationship Ahead Of The Reboot

In "Futurama," Dr. John A. Zoidberg (Billy West) plays a very specific role, one not uncommon in comedy television. He is a kind of perpetual heel, someone who, despite the best of intentions, is avoided, lambasted, and openly despised to the point where you wonder why the Planet Express crew keeps him around. The answer, of course, is that it was hilarious to watch him be so mercilessly and unfairly hated. There is little reason to believe that this will change in the upcoming reboot of "Futurama."

"That's coming out of your pay!" Hermes (Phil LaMarr) scolds Zoidberg, after the Planet Express ship destroys the office's roof, despite Zoidberg having nothing to do with it. "With my last breath, I curse Zoidberg!" yells Professor Farnsworth (Billy West) in what are very nearly his final moments. Both times, we laugh, as we do just about every time our favorite put-upon humanoid crustacean is unfairly blamed or targeted.

But by the end of the series' second run, Zoidberg finally appears to find happiness, even love. In the penultimate episode of Season 7, "Stench and Stenchibility," Zoidberg meets and falls in love with Marianne (Emilia Clarke), a flower vendor with no sense of smell who, even after the selfless doctor gives her a nose transplant, loves the fetid stench of the crab she too has fallen for. Zoidberg, it would seem, has finally found his soulmate.

Fans want to know if Marianne will return

On the r/Futurama subreddit, u/Dabsteeep wrote, "I wonder if Zoidberg and Marianne will be together in the reboot." The answer might not be as obvious as we might think. In his review of "Stench and Stenchibility," Zach Handlen of AV Club was less than thrilled with Marianne's introduction. "It's an okay episode with a shaky start that works largely because the end is near," wrote Handlen, "and it'd be nice to see the final credits roll knowing that all these characters will go out with a smile."

In other words, the episode works mostly because it is almost the end of the story, not because it's particularly funny. Would a happy Zoidberg be a funny Zoidberg? Some, like u/Cautious_Damage, are doubtful: "Even though I was so happy to see Zoidberg finally find happiness, I think it would take a lot away from the story if he weren't desperate and miserable."

And what of Marianne herself? Handlen criticized her character as boilerplate. He wrote that it was nice to see Zoidberg get some happiness, but also remarked, "It's lazy to have that happiness come from someone so vague, with the writers simply relying on some stunt casting and a nice design to get the point across." Ouch.

This doesn't necessarily mean that Marianne –- and by extension, Zoidberg's happiness –- are doomed though. A rebooted Marianne might give the writers a chance to more fully flesh out her character and provide her some depth. But there's another, far more practical consideration behind a potential return of Zoidberg's boo.

Will Emilia Clarke return as Marianne?

Another factor at play in Marianne's return may be whether Emilia Clarke wants to reprise her role. When she first voiced the character, "Game of Thrones" had only released its first three seasons. However, after eight seasons as Daenerys Targaryen, Clarke is now one of the most recognizable stars in the world. 

Responding to the initial post, u/IUsedTheRandomizer wrote, "I imagine it'd be pretty hard to get Emilia Clarke back, at least." Although we're not sure if Clarke has any special affinity for "Futurama," she's certainly been busy in the years since she last voiced Marianne. While she was working on "Game of Thrones," she played large roles in two high-profile sci-fi properties: "Solo: A Star Wars Story," and "Terminator Genisys." Although neither of those resulted in immediate follow-ups, she's certainly not out of the franchise industry yet.

In fact, Clarke has been up to a lot since "Game Of Thrones" ended. In 2019, she appeared in "Above Suspicion" and "Last Christmas." Next year, she'll appear in the eighth live-action television series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course, this fact wasn't lost on "Futurama" fans debating the likelihood that she would return for the animated series. "She's a lead actor in a new MCU show," u/yoaver pointed out, specifically referring to her casting in the Disney+ series "Secret Invasion." 

Additional questions about Clarke's potential return to "Futurama" focused on budgetary questions. For example, u/Sle08 wondered if Clarke might be "too expensive for a reprise." Although this is purely speculative in nature, it's a noteworthy thought. Even the voice of Bender himself, John DiMaggio, was famously unable to get more money out of the reboot

Of course, even if Clarke doesn't return, there are other potential answers for including Marianne anyway. "They can recast her," wrote u/Mysterious_Glass_692. "It's not like Marianne had the most distinctive voice in animation."